Q: How long does it take you to create a book from start to finish on average?
A: You know how kids are, some are easy, others - difficult; some grow with no problems, others - it's easier to pull your nails out with pliers (ouch!)
Books are my children. I love them all, but they are all unique and different. My first kid, I mean book, a cozy mystery VIRTUAL PARADISE (Jade Snow Adventure series 1,) took me about one and half years from start to finish. It was initially conceived as a comic relief from my 'serious writing,' and it became my 'guinea pig' of sorts. I experimented on it, feeling my way through in writing fiction - terra incognita for me at the time.
The second book, a short novella GREEN DESERT (length - 12,000 words,) set in Iraq, took me only one week to write, but the idea was percolating in my head for several years before that.
I am currently working on Jade Snow Adventure 2, GOLD TRAIN - a mystery/spy thriller, set in Russia. The story is based on true events and centers around the disappearance of the entire Gold Reserve of the Russian Empire and a conspiracy, threatening to destabilize the world. I started this August and am planning to release it during the Holiday Season 2011. This book practically writes itself, and I'll confess, this amazing story is one of my favorites.
My new spiritual fantasy/thriller The EARTH SHIFTER, which I usually refer to as 'my serious book' (and my biggest passion,) took me several years to figure out how to write. I think I finally nailed it, so, look for it on digital shelves in the spring, 2012.
Q: How many hours a day do you spend writing? Editing? Procrastinating?
A: Discipline to write? Yeah, right! What is discipline, anyway? I think what counts in writing is passion, a burning desire to see your creativity materialize into something people would enjoy (I hope.) As far as passion goes - I've got plenty of it. As far as discipline - not much. Sometimes, I write for 12 hours a day, until my back rebels against such mistreatment. Other times, slack off for a week or two. My favorite time to write is in the dead of the night, when the world is asleep and imagination reigns supreme.
Editing is different. I like to finish editing large chunks of manuscript in one go, to ensure continuity of impression. Sometimes, I'd sit and edit for 15-20 hours straight, until I am satisfied. Sounds a bit obsessive, I know!
Q: How are your book covers designed?
A: Because I treat my books as my own creation, I make them from start to finish, including the cover. It took me some time to get the hang of the cover design business. Learning never ends, of course, so I'll always continue sharpening my 'cover design' saw.
Q: What do you do when you get writers block?
A: Watch movies, especially comedies to get my mood up, or read murder mysteries. I also like to go for a long walk or to leave town all together for a day or weekend trip - what I call 'airing out my mind.'
Q: Which narrative form and tense do you use and why?
A: I usually write in the past tense, the traditional tense for fiction.
The Jade Snow Adventure series is written in the first person - the main heroine, Jade Snow's POV (although Green Desert is more complex.) This POV makes the feel of the series more personable, more intimate.
The EARTH SHIFTER, the upcoming fantasy/thriller series, will be written in the third person unlimited/ omniscient POV, due to the complex structure, global cataclysmic events that are part of the narrative, and characters that span different countries, positions of power and even realms.
Q: Where do you get your ebooks formatted?
A: I format my books myself, with the help of my computer wiz husband.
Q: Do you use a professional editor, critique partners, or beta readers? Briefly describe your process.
A: As a linguist, I am able to do a lot of editing myself. Of course, I get help from a couple of literary friends and relatives.
My process? Hmm… Just do astronomical amounts of proofreading, polishing and editing, until I feel like I've gone cross-eyed. And stake out my friends and relatives, until they actually sit down and review my writing, as they've been careless enough to promise.
Q: Which is the most important social media platform and why? Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, or any other one you use.
A: I am especially partial to Twitter. Find it user friendly and have met many great people there! Check out ladatweets: http://twitter.com/#!/ladatweets
My other favorite - YouTube. Just started my new channel, created two book trailers, as well as a funny Halloween video, starring the Halloween cat, and the Enchanted Autumn video with my original photography and beautiful music. I love the creative aspect of YouTube and intend to use its potential to the fullest. Stop by and say hi, rate my videos and subscribe!
LadaRay channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/LadaRay?feature=mhee
I have a blog on Blogger: http://ladaray.blogspot.com
But I intend to start a new one on my main website:
Started my Facebook and Goodreads pages, but the jury is still out on those.
Q: What are three unique web sites or blogs that you follow on a regular basis? (related to writing etc.)
A: Ooops, you caught me off guard with this one! I used to participate in Kindleboards and follow the blog by Joe Conrath (who, incidentally, introduced me to the idea of going Indie,) but I've been so busy writing, that I haven't had any time for the past few months. Besides, there are so many awesome new blogs/websites coming up!
One of them is: http://authorcircle.wordpress.com/2011/08/17/5/
And your website, Patricia: http://www.indiewriterszone.com
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share?
A: My main reason for writing is not to sell millions of books, although, I'd be lying if I said I don't dream of it, but to fulfill my life's potential to the fullest. And the key is to treat every book as a new, exciting adventure. I do.
My book links:
1. VIRTUAL PARADISE
2. GREEN DESERT
Both books are also available @ B&N, Diesel, Sony & Kobo.
GOLD TRAIN, a mystery/spy thriller, set in Russia, is coming Holiday Season 2011.
Thank you, Patricia, for a lovely conversation!